Knock on all the wood West Coast, the last of five consecutive weekly 10-hour closures on the only highway in and out of town has arrived.
Last month, B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation announced the highway would be closed for 10 hours—8 a.m. to 6 p.m.— for five Wednesdays in a row to allow crews to blast and remove “an extremely challenging portion of the final significant rock bluff on site,” with the fifth and final closure scheduled for May 26.
“The blasting has been successful and following the final 10-hour closure planned on May 26, no further 10-hour closures are envisioned to be needed to complete the project. Blasting onsite will continue into the summer, with the most challenging blasting already complete ,” a ministry spokesperson wrote in an email to the Westerly News.
“The 10-hour closures were primarily focused on blasting and removing select, extremely challenging rock features, as opposed to being able to blast large volumes of rock each closure. With the proximity of Hydro lines and the lake, all blasts onsite are relatively small in comparison to other highway project sites, and are individually designed for the rock features present around each blast site.”
They added that the primary area of focus for blasting during the 10-hour closures was “substantially achieved with a number of unstable rock features eliminated.”
The blasting work is part of the $38.1 million Kennedy Hill Safety Improvements Project being split between the provincial and federal governments.
Shovels officially hit the ground on the project in 2018 and it was initially expected to be completed by the summer of 2020, though a variety of blasting complications as well as the COVID-19 pandemic pushed that timeline back to an unannounced date.
Since the start of the work, over 110,000 cubic metres of rock, roughly 15,000 dump trucks full, has been blasted and removed from the area, according to the ministry spokesperson.
Regularly scheduled closures will continue as the work is ongoing and anyone looking for updates can find them at the EAC Hwy 4 Kennedy Hill Project Updates Facebook page.